Listening, Being Concise, & Tone Awareness
There are three important skills required for effective communication. These skills include listening, being concise, and being aware of tone. These skills will make anyone a better communicator.
When on thinks of communicating, she might be inclined to think of speaking or conveying her thoughts. However, listening is an extremely important part of communication. Listening allows one to form persuasive thoughts and build credibility with the audience. This happens as a result of not missing portions of the person’s communication which can frustrate a person who is on the other side of the communication process. According to MindTools.com, “research suggests that we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear (Mind Tools, 2014). That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation.” One needs to be an active listener to avoid this pitfall.
Being concise is not just about being clear when one speaks but also refers to communicating what is necessary. By communicating too much information one can create information overload. Information overload can be a hindrance to communication because when there is too much information to present, it may not be processed in a logical way or be able to be communicated in a logical way. With information overload, a manager, for example, may need to communicate certain aspects of the information to employees, but if there is information overload, some key aspects of the information that needs to be communicated may be forgotten or overlooked because it is amongst too much other information. As a result, communication is less effective due to information overload because it can lead to misinformation, misinterpretation, forgetting what should be communicated or completely overlooking the key information that should be communicated (Mind Tools, 2014).
Perhaps the most important issue is tone. Tone refers to the manner in which one communicates information. Being too professional or detached from a communication can result in the tone of the communication sound cold or mean. It is important that one communicates in a way that is pleasant in order to maintain the attention of the audience. A negative tone can immediately turn an audience off from the subject. Tone is an often overlooked aspect of communication both in written and oral communications mediums (Owl Purdue University, 2014). Today, there are many issues with tone in writing due to the use of electronic communications such as texting. People are not mindful of tone in these mediums and will often say things which sound negative. Here is an example of tone in messages which can impact effective communication:
Supervisor: Did you finish the report for the new account?
Inappropriate tone: I did the report already.
Appropriate tone: Yes, I finished the report.
This example shows how one can accidently write or say something in a manner which seems cold or distant (Owl Purdue University, 2014). One should always be aware of their tone for this reason. Having a good tone will increase persuasiveness and attention with the audience.
These are not the only skills necessary for effective communication but they are some of the most important. By actively practicing these skills, one will begin to notice that she has a more attention and persuasion with an audience. This will have a positive impact on all areas of professional and personal life.
Mind Tools. (2014, January 25). Active Listening Hear What People are Really Saying. Retrieved from Mind Tools: http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htm
Owl Purdue University. (2014, January 25). What is Tone? Retrieved from Owl Purdue University: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/652/01/